For Reel

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946)
March 18, 2011, 2:52 am
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Tay Garnett

This 1946 adaptation of James Cain’s novel features one of the most memorable entrances in all of cinema. A lipstick case comes rolling into a diner followed by a pair of long legs. Cut to a close-up of John Garfield, whose lips split as his breath is quite literally taken away. Cut to a full shot of Lana Turner, who has never looked more desirable. That’s just the beginning – the entire film is smoldering with such sexual tension, some of which is so overt that it is absolutely stunning that the film was released while the Production Code under Joseph I. Breen was in full effect. The ending features an unfortunately tacked-on, moralizing sermon, but the rest of the film is coolly dark and menacing. The cast is uniformly excellent, particularly Hume Cronyn, who makes a habit out of stealing every scene he’s in. It’s hard to believe that material this dark was distributed by MGM, who was known for their glossy pictures – it has the feeling of a gritty Warner Brothers noir.

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